01 October 2006

Parliament Adopts New Constitution

Belgrade, Sept 30, 2006 – Serbian parliament members have unanimously adopted the new Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the Decision on holding a referendum to confirm the new Constitution on October 28 and 29 this year.

Parliament members voted in favour of the Constitution and the Decision on the referendum.The new Constitution specifies that Serbia is the country of the Serbian people and all citizens living on its territory and that it is based on the rule of law and social justice, principles of citizen democracy, human and minority rights and freedoms, as well as European principles and values. Serbian President Boris Tadic addressed the parliament at the beginning of the session and said that there are countries with a good constitution and poor politics, but there are no countries with poor constitutions and satisfactory politics because an inferior constitution inevitably restricts the politics.Tadic pointed out that the quality of life and the living standard of citizens depends on their country’s politics.“Before us is the draft of the new constitution which is, among other things, not only the supreme legal act but also the foundation of our country’s legal system and a tremendous opportunity to make a considerable step ahead in comparison with the Serbia that was legally defined by the 1991 Constitution”, said the Serbian President. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said at the session that the adoption of a constitution is a historical act for all states and especially for Serbia in this moment when two most consequential state and national interests have naturally merged into one.

The new Constitution first establishes Serbia as a legally ordered state and underlines the truth that Kosovo-Metohija has always been and will always remain a constituent part of Serbia’s territory, stressed Kostunica addressing the parliament.He invited Serbian citizens to vote at the referendum in favour of their country’s supreme legal act.The new Constitution states in the Preamble that the province of Kosovo-Metohija is a constituent part of Serbia’s territory.“Starting from the fact that Kosovo-Metohija is a constituent part of Serbia’s territory and that it has essential autonomy within the sovereign Serbian state, that all state organs are bound by the Constitution to represent and protect Serbia’s state interests in Kosovo-Metohija in all interior and foreign political relations, the citizens of Serbia hereby pass the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia”, reads the Preamble to the new Constitution. The sovereignty comes from the citizens who perform it through the referendum, people’s initiative or their freely appointed representatives.“No state organ, political organisation, group or individual shall claim the citizens’ sovereignty for their own or establish the rule in opposition to the freely expressed will of the citizens. The rule of law is the basic precondition of the Constitution and it rests on unalienable human rights”, states the Constitution. The flag of the Republic of Serbia exists and is used as the National Flag and the State Flag. The National Anthem of the Republic of Serbia is the song “The Lord of Justice”.The territory of Serbia is single and non-dividable.The official language in the Republic of Serbia is Serbian and the alphabet Cyrillic. The official usage of other languages and alphabets will be determined by law in line with the Constitution.State authority is limited by the right of citizens to provincial autonomy and local self-government. The state protects the rights of national minorities and guarantees special protection for minorities so as to achieve full equality and preserve their identity, states Serbia’s new Constitution.